Since the introduction of the integrated circuit we have been inventing ways to extend the feature resolution beyond the optical limit. Using a focused electron beam linewidths of less than 100nm were demonstrated in 1960 and a mere three years later we achieved a 10nm feature. In the 1970's and 80's several semiconductor manufacturers undertook programs to introduce electron beam lithography (EBL) and X-ray lithography (XRL) based primarily on the rationale that both had superior resolution. Those programs consumed many millions of dollars and yielded, and continue to yield, very imaginative systems but have failed to displace deep ultraviolet lithography (DUVL) despite its inferior resolution. One lesson learned is an old one: to displace an established technology the new must be 10x better than the old. Thus it is irrational that even today a form of XRL employing 13nm X-rays is still being pursued despite showing performance inferior to that of DUVL. What constitutes 'better' depends on the application and thus there are niche markets for forms of lithography other than DUVL. But for mainstream semiconductor chip manufacturing there is no prospect within the next decade of displacing optical lithography which can be stretched even to 10nm features by applying novel techniques coupled with massive computation.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.